Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Holland Area Youth Orchestra and
Holland Area Junior Strings
Fall Concert
Sunday, November 11th, 3pm
Zeeland East High School, DeWitt Auditorium
The Jr. Strings will be performing on the first half of the concert, followed by the Youth Orchestra. Please invite family and friends to this wonderful performance.
Tickets are $7 adults & seniors and $4 students. Tickets are available at the Arts Council or online at

Monday, October 29, 2007

From the Holland Sentinel
Claire Gerhardt holds some kale from the Boeve Farm booth at the Holland Farmer's Market.

Monday, October 29, 2007

What is kale?

Veggie is loaded with nutrients

If you're looking for a veggie that's packed with nutrients (vitamins A, C, E, K, calcium, iron and others minerals, beta carotene, fiber, lutein, some omega 3s and even a little bit of protein), open wide for kale.

This ancient vegetable is actually wild cabbage in the "cole" family with collard greens, cauliflower, broccoli and brussel sprouts, to name a few. Although no one is certain, some historians say that kale was brought from Asia Minor to Europe by groups of Celtic wanderers around 600 B.C. Wild cabbage was developed to form a head perhaps as long as 2,000 years ago.

There's good reason this vegetable has been around for so long. It's a hardy plant and some say it's the most nutritional vegetable there is. It's enjoying renewed popularity as people become more nutrition-conscious.

Kale is especially sweet if it has been in the field for a frost. You might actually like it, and your kids will too, if you can find kale that has been grown in some cold weather. Now that we have fall weather, you'll find it locally at the Holland Farmers' Market.

I know someone who has requested kale every year for her birthday since she was little. Now that she's older, she even volunteers to prepare it herself. Here's how she does it:

Claire's Kale

5 bacon strips, chopped (you can omit this but add more oil)

1 tablespoon cooking oil

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 cup water

Salt to taste (or soy sauce)

In a 5-quart pot (we use a cast-iron Dutch oven), saute the bacon in the oil over medium heat until cooked, but not crispy. Add the sesame seeds and toss around in the fat. Put the kale in the pot and stir it around until it wilts. You can fill the pot, cook it down, then add more kale, continuing until you have all your kale in the pot. Add the water and salt. Cover and cook for 25 minutes or longer. Check every so often and add water if needed. The leaves should be tender and the water nearly cooked away. A longer cooking time will release more minerals, making them more accessible for your body.We do a whole bouquet of kale at a time so that there are leftovers to toss in to the vegetable beef soup. Or try this easy and delicious idea: add leftover kale to your favorite mashed potato recipe and top with 2 leeks and half of a sweet red pepper sauteed in some butter.

Freezing extra kale is easy if you wash and prepare the leaves, fill a plastic bag and store in the freezer.

Yvette Odell, who wrote this story for the Sentinel, was chosen to present a session on "Classroom Management with a Sensory Approach" to her peers at the annual Kindermusik Convention to be held in Chicago. She has been teaching young children since 1980 and teaching Kindermusik in Holland since 1995.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Where Do The Children Play?Premiering Tuesday, October 23rd at 9 p.m. Michigan TV (PBS)

"Free play is slipping away from children’s lives. Yet time spent building forts or exploring outdoors, caring for animals, pretending or problem-solving with peers are now being shown by a wide body of research to be essential to healthy development, spiritual attunement, and emotional survival. Open-ended play in places that offer access to woods, gullies and gardens, ditches, boulders, and bike paths enhances curiosity and confidence throughout life.Play takes many forms. It may be best defined from within as a spontaneous human expression that relies on imagination and a sense of freedom. Players invent alternative contexts for conversation, visualization, movement, and interactions with real objects. They find release and involvement, stimulation and peace. Although play may arise anywhere, even in a cement cell, children are beckoned by the natural world to enjoy sensations of being alive."(Taken from the Where Do Children Play?" Website)

This is a very serious subject. I believe children should be rolling down hills every day. Has your child rolled, jumped, climbed, swung, and spun today? I know I have because I've taught an Kindermusik Imagine That! today and we did all those things plus pretended to be a tree full of birds, squirrels, bees, a bear and a little girl in the tree house all covered with leaves.....

Here are some interesting sites to inspire....or maybe to distract you so that your little one will play in the cupboards or jump off the couch! Better go outside!

Thank you Ashley for giving me this heads up.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Kindermusik Educators Have a Ball

What do hundreds of Kindermusik educators do when they get together?

We are home from the Kindermusik Convention!

What a wonderful, intense time. Here we are:Yvette, Carol Penny from KI, and Darcy sharing hugs and smiles. It was non-stop from the crack of dawn to past midnight every day...singing, dancing, learning, networking, laughing, sharing, is very powerful to be around so many people who share similar vision and belief in music as we do. I loved meeting Kindermusik educator-sisters from around the world. (Thank you for sharing yourselves with us and Mabuhai to you all.)

I've got lots of fun things to share about our experience but since I got home at 3:45am I have got to catch up on the ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzs.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

William Tell Dance

THis is why children should listen to their Kindermusik CDs where they can jump and move and dance and conduct! Not just in the car while they are in the car seat or when they are all tucked in for bed at night!!!! How fun it was to watch this guy who really knows this music from beginning to end! He's so expressive with his hands. Thanks Kindermusik educator Deborah in Texas for sharing.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Here's a "foundation of learning" (which we educators call "FOL") that I shared this week with families:

Did you know that stimulation of the calf muscle aids in language development? Put you child on the floor in front of you so that you can bicycle her legs. Then flex their feet and have your child just push against your hands as hard as she can. I think they just have fun trying to be as strong as you! But the work is good for their brains as well. It actually aids in the language development of children. Why? Well in my next life I plan to be a cellist and a neuroscientist so I may be better able to explain why but for now I know that I found this information in Carla Hannaford's book Smart Moves, Why Learning Is Not All In Your Head. I can't tell you which page because I've lent out my copy and :-( don't know where it is......

This kind of stimulation of the whole body is why children need to be jumping, running, climbing, twirling, singing and dancing and playing in free, joyful situations. And this is why Kindermusik is such a good investment...your dividends increase exponentially.

Glad you found us.

Busy, Busy, Busy!

How come when it gets cold, things get more and more hectic? Is it to get us moving to stay warm? Well, it's all good hectic-ness anyway!

Hope you've marked your calendars: No classes next Wednesday afternoon or Thursday! Darcy and I are headed for the Kindermusik Convention!!! Just imagine the energy of hundreds and hundreds of Kindermusik teachers in one building...singing and dancing and sharing all day and practically all night!!!

My calendar is also filling up with extra music class events for speaking or making music in area preschools, young five programs, homeschool groups, library music and movement storytime, and mom and tot church group events etc. I love coming out and sharing with the adults information on child development, parenting skills, benefits of music and movement for their children and sharing with the children the joy of musical fun.

Other items on my calendar include leading La Leche League meetings, farmers market days, church choir, concerts, flute students and occaisional flute playing gigs! Then there's homeschooling schedules of Anne and Claire...... No two days are routine!

Wonder what my calendar looks like? Well it's an amazing calendar called Weekdate, invented by my sister in law, Kay Odell. It works for me! Her 2008 designs just came out and I'm trying do decide on the cover.

It's a good kind of busy.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Parents often ask.....

Too young to play an instrument? By Jane Palmer

What are good starter instruments? For babies: rattles (maracas), tambourine, bongo drums. For toddlers and preschoolers: rhythm sticks, sandpaper blocks, maracas, drums, finger cymbals, triangles, cymbals, gongs, jingle bells, xylophone-type instruments with removable bars and chorded zither. Toy instruments won't hold a youngster's interest for long. Age 3 and older: new or gently used piano, which should be tuned once or twice a year. Second best is a digital electronic keyboard with touch-sensitive, weighted keys. Young violin players: smaller violins, scaled to a child's hands and body.

How young can children typically start music lessons? For traditional piano lessons, at age 7. For band and orchestra instruments, in fourth or fifth grade, when children are big enough to manage the size of the instruments and have more lung capacity.

How can you get preschoolers interested? Listen to all styles of recorded music from birth. Sing together and play singing games. Participate in Kindermusik or other music experience programs for babies through age 7 or 9. Find local programs online at for preschool programs that devote at least 10 percent of their time to music.

How much are lessons? From $15 to $40 for a 30- or 60-minute session.
How do you obtain instruments? Introductory instruments such as sandpaper blocks may be available at toy or school supply stores. Most instruments require a trip to a music store. Ask for a student instrument. Turn down artist instruments, which are higher priced. Buy a used instrument to further cut costs, and ask about service and repairs after the sale. You may find a bargain in classified advertisements or at a pawn shop, garage sale or thrift store. Make sure everything works. Music stores often have a rent-to-own program. If you keep the instrument longer than atrial period, you own it and your monthly payments apply to the purchase. On the rental agreement, take note of the interest rate and total cost. It may be cheaper to obtain your own loan.

Sources: Joan Reist, past president of the Music Teachers National Association and retired associate professor of piano pedagogy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Lance Nielsen, president of the Nebraska Music Educators Association and director of bands at Lincoln East High School. National standards published by the National Association for Music Education at

Thanks Molly!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Glissandos galore!

Slide whistles can make glissando's. So can clarinets, trombones and our voices. And so can string instruments like the violin! This is Jackie playing a "gliss" with Ms. Yvette.

Who loves their dulcimer?

WE DO!!!!!!!!!
And we are loving strumming and singing....which is way more complicated than you might think. I remember the first time I tried to strum a steady beat on the guitar while singing in rhythm! It's like rubbing your tummy and patting your head at the same time!

We are also loving dancing to Old Lady No Nose and making music with household items like spoons and paper bags and washboards! Here's a picture of David Holt who sings a couple of the songs on the Young Child 3 CD. He's the one with the washboard.

Now swing your partner!
(see David Holt's website for more fun music from the Appalachian mountains.)

To the MOMs

Dear Moms,
Are you aware that MOM is WOW upside down? That is a given. Forwards and backwards. No other judgment necessary!

A few years ago I began a conscious journey of self improvement and have as a mantra to "love others as myself". Interestingly I noticed I didn't love myself very much and surely not unconditionally! During times when I loved myself least I was less able to love others at all.
How could I love others, especially my own family, if I could not love myself.

Baby steps. Baby steps. Two steps forward and one back.

Here are two ideas that helped me with the one step forward.

Accept compliments.

Wouldn't you know it? I have still lots of work to do here! Today after playing flute in church I totally negated a freely given compliment! I will choose next time to say: "Thank you" and allow it to soak in.

Second: Stop "should-ing all over myself".

I think most moms are in the habit of using this technique. "I should have returned that call yesterday". "I should have gotten up earlier." "I should post more often on my blog." "I should have practiced that music."Should-a should-a, should-a....., Goodness, I can come up with a bunch of them. There's a lot of judgmental energy being used up in feeling angry or frustrated at myself for what should have been! How is that going to help anything? The word "should" matters too in saying what we might do in the future. "I should run to the store". "I should drop a card in the mail." "I should clean up as I go." I choose to replace "should-a" with "I could" and then decide whether or not I will. I can always change my mind but I don't need the nagging sound of that voice saying "You should have.......".

If you are an educator and you are reading this you might want to know more. I've been reading Becky Bailey's work book for teachers "Conscious Discipline". But if you are a parent reading this then you could choose to run out and get this book because it can help you transform your parenting.

Thanks for listening. Because you know I say this for my own sake.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

My newest favorite quote:

f you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.

by Antoine de St. Exupery

Imagine a group of people driven by a yearning for the vast and endless sea! Imagine holding them back from building this boat! The passion and energy for the project are unquestionably abundant.

Last week I lamented to friends: Help! How can I help Anne WANT to practice her cello? Here is my answer. The SEA! The SEA! LOVE and yearning for the sea of beautiful cello music.

Teaching one to yearn is where we could get hung up. I don't really know if that can be done! So what do we do?

Model passion. Look for others who live by their passion. Surround yourselves with their modeling. Talk about it passionately. Love the journey.

Antoine de St.Exupery also said: All grown-ups were once children--although few of them remember it.